My friend Chris, a scientist, is annoyed. I use the parenthetical ‘a scientist’ to demonstrate exactly why he's annoyed. He just heard about a Nobel Prize winning physicist named Ivar Giaever, who recently resigned from the American Physical Society, the premier organization of its nature, because of its official policy on global warming. Dr. Giaever, who was awarded Oslo's highest honor in 1973 for his work with superconductors (don’t ask me to explain, I barely passed algebra,) is outraged at the APS’s position that the evidence of global warming is ‘incontrovertible’ and that human acts which cause increased emissions of carbon monoxide are the direct cause.
Dr. Giaever doesn’t challenge the right to believe in global warming. His whole life is built around considering different hypotheses and phenomena, like any good egghead. But he, like Chris, is angry that scientists would dare say that something is ‘incontrovertible,’ when they are, by nature, skeptics. Or at least, they should be. Can it only be in this field, where the esteemed Dr. Al Gore has made apostates of anyone who disagrees with him, that scientific certainty is justified?
Dr. Giaever is also puzzled as to why a physicist should have anything to say about a meteorological event, since you wouldn’t ask a geologist to give a lecture on infectious diseases. The disciplines have little or nothing to do with each other, but they’ve been assigned connecting seats on the global warming (I mean, climate change) bandwagon.
I’m not Rick Perry. I don’t doubt that human acts have had some impact on the environment (and unlike Michelle Bachmann, I don’t believe that anecdotal evidence is enough to prove that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation.)
But I’m tired of being told that questioning the science of global warming is the sign of a low IQ. Tell that to Dr. Giaever, who didn’t get his Nobel by narrating a top-selling, Oscar-winning cartoon.